Lazar Radic on the Draft Digital Competition Bill

ICLE Senior Scholar Lazar Radic was quoted by IT Voice in a story about India’s draft Digital Competition Bill. You can read the full piece here.

Dr. Lazar Radic, Senior Scholar, Competition Policy, International Center for Law & Economics, and Adjunct Professor of Law, IE University, said, “The Digital Markets Act (DMA) prioritizes fairness over efficiency, shifting focus from consumer welfare to addressing power dynamics between large ‘gatekeeper’ platforms and other entities. While it claims to facilitate access to digital markets, the DMA may inadvertently have the opposite effect by reducing platform quality and, by extension, consumer engagement. SMEs and startups in particular stand to lose the most from this as new entrants disproportionately benefit from digital platforms’ reputation with end-users and goodwill to gain a foothold in the market. Similarly, India’s draft Digital Competition Bill (DCB) requires established enterprises to redesign some of their core products and services through strict ex-ante rules which, unlike traditional competition law, require no proof of harm and admit little to no countervailing evidence. To the extent that such rigid and experimental provisions may diminish platform quality and owners’ incentive to invest in those platforms, they may also hinder startups’ and SMEs’ ability to attract and maintain a critical mass of end-users. For instance, while some startups see the DCB as a silver bullet against Google’s dominance, it is important to note that DMA-style ex-ante rules could also disrupt the symbiotic relationship between platforms and business users by hampering Google’s ability to curate content and apps, thereby alienating end-users. Issues like Google’s gatekeeping role therefore need careful case-by-case assessment to ensure that Google can continue improving the overall quality of its ecosystem while also curbing any potential anticompetitive practices. In my view, the Competition Act 2002 is generally well-suited for this task.”